FRESNO, Calif. — California labor officials have issued civil penalties to an employer that fired a group of farmworkers it misclassified as independent contractors; labor experts say the landmark decision could have a “profound” impact on the agriculture industry. The July 28 decision by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board resulted from a complaint filed by Marisol Jimenez, a farmworker on California’s Central Coast who was fired in 2017 alongside five other workers after raising concerns about not receiving proper paystubs with their weekly paychecks. The ALRB — the state agency tasked wi...
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Ron DeSantis is on a 'collision course' with Trump as former president is 'besieged' by legal problems
According to a report from the Guardian, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is taking his show on the road and visiting five swing states as he mounts a low-key campaign to be the GOP presidential candidate in 2024.
As the Guardian's Adam Gabbatt wrote, this puts the rising star that is DeSantis on a "collision course" with Trump at a time when the former president is consumed with dealing with civil lawsuits and criminal investigations.
Noting that Trump reportedly now says he "hates" DeSantis, who he once championed, Gabbatt wrote, "The Florida governor – who must walk the tightrope of being both ally and rival of Trump – is hotly tipped to run for president, and this outwardly benevolent campaigning trip will further swell his profile," before adding, "Trump was key to getting DeSantis, who has been dubbed a 'mini-Trump', elected governor in 2018, but bad blood between the pair – particularly from Trump’s side – has been brewing for some time."
According to the report, while Trump is buffeted daily by bad news as multiple investigations lurch toward possible criminal indictments, Republican voters are seeing DeSantis as a more acceptable 2024 presidential candidate.
"DeSantis is seen by some conservatives as a more palatable, more electable, version of the original: still outspoken against the media or perceived foes when he wants to be, but less prone to explosions of temper, and with a less turbulent past. DeSantis has also not been impeached twice, and is not being investigated for inciting an insurrection, which could help win over wavering voters," Gabbatt explained before noting, "But DeSantis is just as extreme – perhaps more extreme – than Trump. As governor he has targeted minority groups, introducing legislation that seems designed to thrill the rightwing Republican base."
The report goes on to note that Trump has privately turned on the Florida Republican dating back to Jan 2022.
"Axios reported that behind the scenes, Trump would frequently criticize his former charge," the report states adding that a source close to Trump explained, "He says DeSantis has no personal charisma and has a dull personality."
Axios also "reported that Trump’s irritation stemmed from the fact that DeSantis has not ruled himself out of the running for the 2024 presidential election, should Trump himself run."
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Taliban fighters beat women protesters and fired into the air on Saturday as they violently dispersed a rare rally in the Afghan capital, days ahead of the first anniversary of the hardline Islamists' return to power.
About 40 women -- chanting "bread, work and freedom" -- marched in front of the education ministry building in Kabul, before the fighters dispersed them by firing their guns into the air, an AFP correspondent reported.
Some women protesters who took refuge in nearby shops were chased and beaten by Taliban fighters with their rifle butts.
The demonstrators carried a banner which read "August 15 is a black day" as they demanded rights to work and political participation.
"Justice, justice. We're fed up with ignorance," they chanted, many not wearing face veils.
"Unfortunately, the Taliban from the intelligence service came and fired in the air," said Zholia Parsi, one of the organizers of the march.
"They dispersed the girls, tore our banners and confiscated the mobile phones of many girls."
Some journalists covering the protest -- the first women's rally in months -- were also beaten by the Taliban fighters, an AFP correspondent saw.
'Making women invisible'
After seizing power last year, the Taliban promised a softer version of the harsh Islamist rule that characterized their first stint in power from 1996 to 2001.
But many restrictions have already been imposed, especially on women, to comply with the movement's austere vision of Islam.
Tens of thousands of girls have been shut out of secondary schools, while women have been barred from returning to many government jobs.
Women have also been banned from travelling alone on long trips and can only visit public gardens and parks in the capital on days separate from men.
In May, the country's supreme leader and chief of the Taliban, Hibatullah Akhundzada, ordered women to fully cover themselves in public, including their faces -- ideally with an all-encompassing burqa.
These policies show a "pattern of absolute gender segregation and are aimed at making women invisible in the society", Richard Bennett, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, told reporters in Kabul during a visit in May.
Some Afghan women initially pushed back against the curbs, holding small protests.
But the Taliban soon rounded up the ringleaders, holding them incommunicado while denying they had been detained.
The suspension of ticket sales to Machu Picchu sparked protests among angry tourists and merchants from the town closest to the Inca citadel.
Authorities had recently begun limiting the number of visitors to the jewel of Peruvian tourism to reduce wear and tear but increased the number of daily visitors from 4,044 to 5,044 in July following industry complaints.
Friday's protests took place in the neighboring town of Machu Picchu, formerly called Aguas Calientes, where visitors arrive by train before boarding minibuses that transport them to climb the ancient site through a narrow mountain pass.
Protestors were angered after tickets to enter Machu Picchu were only being sold in the nearby city of Cusco and not in Aguas Calientes.
"I paid for my (train) tickets with Inca Rail for one day with a tour guide. We even paid an additional fee for the bus that brings us here to Machu Picchu, where the ruins are and they have not let us in because we do not have the ticket to get in," Mexican Israel Gonzales Rizoo told AFP.
The town's merchants were also very upset, with dozens blocking the railway to prevent the movement of trains.
"We demand the sale of tickets at the offices of the Ministry of Culture of Machu Picchu, and 50 percent of its totality in person (...) to reactivate our economies," the merchants said in a statement.
This is the second protest in just over two weeks over the lack of tickets to enter the stone citadel -- the most visited attraction in Peru.
On July 27, the available tickets were sold out due to overbooking.
Given the protests this Friday, the Ministry of Culture indicated that it ordered in person sale of entrance tickets to continue, respecting the limit set to protect the archaeological heritage.
That is because, in the last two weeks, "the average admission to the Llaqta (citadel) of Machu Picchu has remained below the admission capacity," the Ministry said in a statement.
The town is located at the foot of the 2,430-meter-high mountain on which is the famous stone citadel built in the 15th century by the Inca emperor Pachacutec.
UNESCO declared the citadel of Machu Picchu a World Heritage Site in 1983. Since then, the organization has required Peru to comply with a series of guidelines to preserve the place.
© 2022 AFP